A Wanker’s Literary Reaction: Skins

by thethreepennyguignol

I finally watched Skins yesterday. Apparently a sublime comment on the yoof culture of drugs, sex, tits and booze, the series spanned from 2007 till…well, now, really, with a three-part special due for release later this year. Written by a father-son writing team for E4, it kick-started the careers of Nicholas Hoult and no-one else and remains to this day one of the more popular teenage shows Channel 4 has scattergunned into existence.

Nicholas Hoult is actually really rather good as Tony Stonem, mainly because I find him so monstrously attractive (those eyes. THOSE EY-), but the entire first generation was undermined by the inclusion of Cassie. Now, I have to make it bloody clear that I have nothing against people with any kind of mental health disorder. My issue with Cassie is the utterly awful performance (sorry, Hannah Murray, you seem quite lovely) and the fact she’s been written to seemingly test my nerves as much as possible. She often reaches a rolling rhythm of breathy”wow”s in one sentence, so I suggest forcing a piece of glass into your foot when you here the first one. Your screams of agony will be preferable to this, trust me. The second generation was tighter, across the board; in particular, JJ, played with awkward charm by Olli Barbieri, was superb. Although I don’t really get the attraction to Cook-he’s played to perfection by a carnivorous Jack O’Connell, supposedly some sort of roguish charm not dissimilar to Tony Stonem, but he comes off as a massive wanker with only his own interests and cock at heart. Believe me, I know the signs.

I thought the adult cast were unprecendently and undeservingly good-particularly Danny Dyer, who was actually excellent as a dense-but-well-meaning trophy boyfriend. Mackenzie Crook was sort of great as an imposing gangster, once I got the image of Gareth from The Office reciting ways to kill a man out of my head, and Bill Bailey is pleasantly sweary in an affable, beardy kind of way. They bounce of the younger cast and often make them look a hell of a lot better.

Fuck me, though-I expected a merry cavalcade of sexual experimentation, rampant drug abuse and pretty faces. Little did I know the damn thing’s about as good-natured as dental surgery by a drunken Ian McShane. I didn’t even get onto series 5, so utterly depressed was I by the viscous murder by fucking baseball bat at the end of series 4. When they did the whole death-of-a-lead-character thing in series 2, at least they killed off a character with some background for it, having put the poor boy through the mincer in every emotional, financial and physical sense anyway. Finish him off and put him out of his misery, I say.

Another thing that depressed me about the show was how little it resembled my life or the lives of pretty much anyone I had known that well. For the lucky few, I suppose this kind of debauchery just happens and you all prance around flashing your boobs at people with a joint hanging out of the corner of your mouth. For the rest of us, life’s not dissimilar to a celebrity autobiography at the back of a charity shop- quiet, irrelevant and occasionally getting fingered by ugly mouth-breathers.   Hurrah for youth.

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